Bloomberg has had serious messaging market dominance for the traders and funds managers whose companies pay the $20,000/year for Bloomberg’s terminals and related services. But the industry has many others that do not have access to those terminals, and as a result have not been on the inside of the Bloomberg messaging network.
Today, financial data provider Markit has released a federated messaging platform that will sidestep Bloomberg and provide much wider access to the millions of workers in the financial services community. The platform is based on technology from NextPlane. Federation in this sense means that individual messaging services can interoperate based on a centralized federation server, that validates identities and transfer messages from one system to another.
Thomson Reuters is a founding customer, and is connecting its internal Eikon Messenger, with more than 200,000 financial professionals worldwide. Eight major banks, the owners of Markit, are also at work integrating their workforce’s into the system as well. The banks include The banks that have signed on are Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.
Markit’s collaboration services will interoperate with XMPP (Cisco Jabber, etc), Yahoo, Skype, Facebook, Microsoft Lync, Yammer, Chatter, Twitter, IBM Sametime, Google Apps, WebEx Messenger, and OpenFire.
The solution will maintain a directory of federated identities as a “central switchboard” which will open up the financial services industry in a way that has never been done before. But administrators at each participating company will be able to determine who can participate, and what sorts of information they can share. The communication will be encrypted throughout, so only the participants will actually be able to see what is being said.
I found no mention of NSA concerns as being behind this push: it seems to be more of a reaction to recent disclosures about Bloomberg’s misuse of information found through its financial terminals, like Bloomberg journalists use of subscriber data.